our book club reads happy books!

“The Stone Diaries”

on June 6, 2012

Over the weekend I started working on a top-secret project that is really stressing me out!

There are several reasons for the stress: I am trying a technique I’ve never done before, I have a limited amount of time to do it, and I want it to turn out great. But the biggest reason it is stressing me out is because, while I have done some initial prep work, it really can’t be done very far in advance. So it’s sink or swim – if it doesn’t turn out, I’m screwed. My Plan B? Make it work!! (Do I have you curious? I promise to post the results – the good, the bad, or the ugly!)

So anyway, I can’t really do anything on my project until the end of the week. Except obsess and worry about it, something I could definitely earn a blue ribbon for! In an effort to get my mind off it, I thought I’d write about a great book I read recently.

The book is “The Stone Diaries” by Carol Shields. This is a book that’s been on my “to be read” list for years. I have also been avoiding it for years. I’m not sure why I was avoiding it. I think it might have something to do with the fact that it won a Pulitzer. Somehow I got the idea that reading a Pulitzer Prize winning novel was like eating green beans – it may be good for me, but I won’t enjoy it! (I had the same experience with “Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides. It won a Pulitzer, I heard great things about it, but I had a hard time convincing myself to read it. It is a beautiful novel.)

“The Stone Diaries” is the story of one woman’s life from birth to death. What makes the novel unique is the way in which the author plays with points of view. Given the wide scope of the novel (an entire lifetime!) the novel is relatively short (269 pages). I think the opening chapter is a masterpiece. It is an example of one of the reasons I loved the book – I really cared about the characters, even those who only appear briefly in the book.

But what amazed me about the book, was, somehow, it felt like Carol Shields was writing about my life. Despite the fact that the central character, Daisy’s life is nothing at all like mine! I came away from the novel not only feeling as if I knew the characters, I also felt like the author knew me. I guess you could consider Daisy an “everywoman”.

What a took away from the novel was nothing new: even the longest life is short. Make the most of it. It reminded me that “this too will pass” – the good and the bad. Enjoy and celebrate the good, persevere and endure the bad.

I’ve read some reviews of this book that called it depressing and I understand how some people would feel that way. I found it thought-provoking and moving. I stayed up late to finish reading it, which I haven’t done it a while with a book.

Now, back to worrying…no wait, I’ll enjoy the anticipation! Someone recently said to me “I’ll see you tomorrow, unless something happens”. I replied, “something always happens…that’s what makes life exciting!” Here’s hoping the excitement is happy!


4 responses to ““The Stone Diaries”

  1. Trish says:

    I know what the top secret project is, teehee! It’s going to turn out great, I know it!

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